Why is brassy hair bad? A hairdresser tells you about it

orange hair after bleaching

Why is brassy hair bad? I was asked the other day. What was my answer?

  • Brassy hair isn’t actually that bad.
  • It’s the result of having bleached dark hair.
  • As there’s nothing wrong with brassy hair, if you like the color you can wear it.

And, if you don’t like it, this article gives you clues to fix it.


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Have you bleached your hair a long time ago and you start to notice that it begins to look brassy with washes?


Don’t worry. You can fix it, but there’s really nothing wrong with brassy hair.

In this article, we’ll see what happened to your hair to turn brassy and how to fix it if you don’t like it.

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What exactly is brassy hair?

woman bleaches her hair in a salon

Brassy hair is actually an optical illusion.

As explained before, there’s nothing actually rusty about your hair. The color you’re wearing is similar to the coppery orange shade of rust. Thus, the name of the color.


 But you should know that there’s nothing wrong with this. Your hair color has to do with your taste and it could be brassy if you like it. .

I think the reasons behind personal choices are always subjective, don’t you think?


What is the origin of brassy hair?

hairdresser applying toner

Brassiness refers to the unwanted warm tones that show up in colored hair. It usually happens in dark hair that gets dyed light colors.

Briefly reviewing some basic concepts of colorimetry, we can say that hair contains two different kinds of pigments: granular and diffuse pigments.


Granular pigments are red while diffuse pigments are yellow. The amount of pigment in your hair will determine the color. It could range from black (maximum concentration of red pigments) to very light blonde (maximum concentration of yellow pigments).


Therefore, when you apply light hair dye on dark hair, the peroxide and the dye don’t have enough strength to sweep out all the dark pigments.

A hair dye with a 20-vol peroxide can lighten up to two shades at most. That is why  applying a light dye to dark hair results in coppery orange or brassy color. 


When we bleach our hair, we can lighten up to four shades. Therefore, we’ll have the same result or perhaps a light orange color depending on the base starting color.

The result obtained will be what we stylists call a “bleaching level”.

What is a bleaching level?


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That’s the highest level we can lift with a single bleach.

 Sometimes, only one bleach will be enough. However, there may be cases when you need to bleach the hair more than once. 


Once the desired bleaching level has been obtained, the hair is porous. Only the natural pigments from the inside of the hair have been removed. However, the cuticles are completely open, as we have not applied anything to reseal them.

At this point, we apply a toning dye to achieve the shade we were looking for. Generally, it is a buttery-color tone that gives our hair that very light blonde in the style of ash or mauve colors.

Once the desired shade is achieved, you’ll wash, shampoo, condition, and apply nourishment to help give a technical closure. Then, your hair will be healthy and look lush and shiny.


Brassy hair and the “Cinderella” effect

heat of the flat iron causes split ends

In the Disney movie, after midnight, Cinderella loses the spell and is once again left with her ugly clothes, pumpkin, and mice.

When you walk out of the salon with your new balayage, highlights, or freshly done color, you look just like when Cinderella walks into the ball: you’re a real princess.

Now, have you ever wondered why your hair gets brassy as the days go by?

  • Washing your hair with medium or low-quality shampoos.
  • Exposing your hair to the sun
  • Exposing your hair to the high temperatures of hair dryers and straighteners


Because of these 3 situations, which are unavoidable, the dye pigments are washed out and the bleaching level reappears. Then, your hair may look brassy.


 One or two months after applying the dye, the famous brassy hair appears. 

Just like the stroke of midnight in the Cinderella story. But don’t worry, you don’t need a fairy godmother to cast a spell on you. In your case, it’ll be solved by making an appointment at the beauty salon. There, your hairdresser will be able to rebalance your hair with the hair color remover and everything will be back to normal.


How do I remove the brassy color from my hair? I give you 2 solutions

purple and blue shampoo from fanola

To remove the brassy color from your hair, you should make an appointment at your usual salon. But if you are in a hurry and can’t wait, here you have two options to solve it.


This type of shampoo contains blueberry extract. Its color is deep violet, and it usually has a creamy texture. With a single application, it removes unwanted yellows or oranges, and your hair regains that buttery shade it had when you just bleached it.


2 cons of this solution:

  • The shampoo can’t be used daily because it’ll end up coloring your hair purple or lilac.
  • It’s aggressive so, it may damage your hair. The correct use is an application every ten or fifteen days, and it’ll be your great ally.


  • On the other hand, if you want to remove the rust from your hair and extend its duration,  you should apply a dye with a 6 to 8 volume developer. 

The dye will vary according to the bleaching level you need to shade.

If the bleach base (or your brassy color) is very orange, you should use some ash shade. If your bleaching level is more light yellow, a mauve shade would be ideal.


1 disadvantage for this solution:

  • You should be very careful with the exposure times. Due to the porosity of your hair, these shades tend to color hair almost instantaneously. For this reason, one miscalculation may make your hair turn greenish or purplish, and fixing it will be chaos. Be very careful!


Conclusion: there's nothing wrong with brassiness. If you like it, you can wear it

In this article, I've told you why there's absolutely nothing wrong with rust color in your hair.

It's just an indicator that your hair has lost its color. Maybe this new shade is to your liking.

If so, great, I invite you to wear it with attitude. If not, it can be easily remedied by washing with blue shampoo or applying a new dye with a 6 to 8-volume developer.


As with every article, I invite you to make an appointment at your usual salon. Fairy godmothers don't exist. The magic is in the hands of your trusted hairdresser.

He or she will make your hair stand out from the rest. GO FOR IT!

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